The SAFE Banking Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives for the fifth time on September 23, 2021. This landmark legislation would pave the way for more financial institutions to serve the state-legal cannabis industry by removing some of the attendant legal and regulatory risks, as we have previously explained.
In a tactical decision to help the Act finally get across the finish line in the Senate, Rep. Ed Perlmutter proposed that it be included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Act was added to the NDAA by voice vote on September 21, and the NDAA passed the House in a 316-113 vote on September 23.
But the Act still faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where some Democrats – including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – are eyeing more comprehensive cannabis reform like the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which we analyzed here. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, has also indicated that he supports tying the Act to broader cannabis reform rather than passing it as a standalone measure.
Despite these obstacles, the SAFE Banking Act does have broad bipartisan support, and its inclusion in the NDAA confirms that the Act remains a top legislative priority for Rep. Perlmutter. We will continue to keep you updated as the Act works its way through the Senate.